Well, I got home and things have been a little hectic and it’s taken me a little bit to get my story put on the idiot box.
I hope that you enjoy my hunting story. Many here may remember my first Alaskan hunting adventure with my wife that was on a river up in the Brooks Range and the taking of 2 caribou 5 years ago. From that moment on I fell in love with the beauty of what is truly “God’s Country” and have been going back every year since.
I GOT MY FIRST MOOSE!!!!!!
Many here know our host Mike. Mike and I became good friends a few years back before he bought the forum. I asked him if he had some time and would like to join me this year and as luck would have it we were able to make plans. We decided to go with Papa Bear Adventures out of Bethel.
Some may remember some heated debates as to the merits of this outfit compared to another outfit that works out of Bethel as well. I am here to tell you that there is no comparison. Carl and Steve Powers run a first class operation that would be hard to beat. They are very thorough. All of the equipment that they offer is in top condition. The lodge is large, comfortable and clean. They follow the rules and everything is above board and the great thing is they don’t over hunt or stack hunters, which lends to their high success rate.
I arrived in anchorage a couple days early to get organized. I like to allow extra time for airlines to lose baggage and not cause a stroke. I have also been going so much that I have rented a temperature controlled storage unit to allow me to leave most of my hunting gear there. It works out to be cheaper in the long run so I’m not paying for excess baggage and overweight things as well.
While doing a little running around I made time to stop by Wiggy’s and shoot the breeze with a fellow Jarhead and drink all of his coffee. It was good to see him. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to stop back by before I left.
Now a many of my hunting partners will tell you, I’m a gear guy and love getting new stuff and having everything under the sun. I’m always looking for ways to justify new gear. I have been eyeballing the Sitka stuff for a couple of years but never really had the opportunity to put my hands on the stuff and wasn’t willing to spend that kind of money over the net. Well, Sportsman’s had some in stock and I couldn’t resist. I spent 2 days hemming and hawing about it. Mike and I had to make a stop by Barney’s and they had some as well. I preferred to give my money to the small guy so I bought everything but a vest and gloves there and got the rest at Sportsman’s because Barneys didn’t have my size. I went with the Open Country mid weights; I got the Timberline pants and Jetstream jacket with vest. I will share that the gear performed beautifully and I really loved the pants. They have a waterproof rear and knees with removable padding that really saved mine that Marine Corps has destroyed.
We were to arrive in Bethel on the 12th to hit the bush but I wanted to get there a little early to allow for weather, problems, checking the zero on my 338 win mag. After traveling 4000 miles so we caught the afternoon flight on Alaskan airlines to Bethel. The short flight took about an hour and as luck would have, it 2 bags were missing, imagine that!! I should also share that Mike had some things pre-packed and we had sent a large plastic fish tote on Alaska as cargo ahead to save on time, cost, etc and it would also give us something safer to back haul meat in. Those that have read his book know that the man is full of ideas and is completely organized. One of his little tricks is to have all of the food separated and ready. On this trip, Mike was going to have to give up his cooler full of frozen premade meals to include steaks, salad, etc. Heck, everyone here knows that any man that float hunts with a super leopard would never over pack! Well, this trip was going to include the use of a supercub, so we had to shave as much weight as possible and Mike didn’t go on a diet at all! We had breakfast of oatmeal, bagels, and hot drinks packed in a compactor trash bag tied and then put in a medium grain bag from Alaska mill and feed and then that bag gets tied. Lunch was put in Ziplocs with snacks of cracker, jerky, (Mike kept hogging all of the Teriyaki flavor) nuts, candy bars, cookies and the entire isle 5 from Costco. This way you just grabbed a Ziploc and threw it in your day pack for that days hunt. Dinner was of coarse Mountain House, placed in its own compactor/grain bag. We did also take along some mustard, tuna, miracle whip, peanut butter, bread and the number one military required accessory……. hot sauce. All of the meal bags were labeled which made meal time super easy.
Sorry that I got off on a little bit of a tangent but my intent is to share a little more info than just your standard hunting thread. I guess that I should also state that it is not my intention to sound like an expert in any way. Much of what I am writing about has been learned from the members here and things that Mike has been kind enough to teach me. Really, this level of info is intended for those who are non-residents like myself who don’t do this kind of thing all of the time.
So back to Bethel, we spent the rest of the day and evening repacking and trying to cut more weight. Steve, the owner, said that he would check the airline for our missing bags and bring them in the morning. Carl was kind enough to take us out to the sand dunes to check our zeros. 3 shots confirmed that the storm rifle case had done its job and I was on the money with about a 1 ½” group kneeling with Primo’s trigger bipod shooting stix. I should also share here that I was shooting reloads of Barnes TTSX 210 grains with 74.5 grains of 4350 pushing 2800 fps. We ordered a burger delivered from a local joint and settled in for the night. Sleep eluded me from a combination of jet lag and extreme excitement from the pending hunt.
September 12 arrived and the hunt was on. We were told that breakfast would be at 8am. Steve’s wife Robin walked in a minute and a half early with a casserole that was to die for. Then Steve walks in to tell me that my bags were on their way back to NC!!! Man, he had me going for about a minute and then he couldn’t keep a straight face. I about DIED! And I still owe him for that one.